January 28, 2005
Good news, unity and the way forward

This week, the Governor of the East Caribbean Central Bank Sir K. Dwight Venner addressed member states of the OECS and the East Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) on the economy and prospects for growth into the future.

The presentation, though pre-recorded, sought to further link us in a very real way. There they were, the Governor and his deputy Errol Allen, incidentally both of Vincentian roots, being beamed in real time through the use of telecommunications technology courtesy Cable &Wireless, into the offices of eight ECCB branches throughout the region while OECS people from Grenada up to St. Kitts could have participated from the comforts of their living rooms in this presentation and discussion.{{more}}

We are on the way.

Not only are we linked at the level of governments, but this way we are engaging each other in discussions at the people level. How better to concretize the union we are attempting to forge at a wider Caribbean level.

It was Sir Dwight himself who pointed out that while there is some level of concern about the fact that the larger nations of the sub-region may seem to be leaving us behind with progress toward the CSME, this sub-region already has achieved a high level of integration. He pointed to our common judiciary, common currency and central bank, joint foreign representation, a common directorate of civil aviation, pharmaceutical procurement, telecommunications regulation, banking regulation and close collaboration in health, education and security matters.

The Governor laid out the prospects for 2005 that give us cause for optimism. He quite frankly said that our challenges are within the capabilities of these countries. Sir Dwight, however, pointed out that, “It is necessary for our progress that all sections of our community, government, private sector and citizens accept their specific responsibilities in this regard.”

He advised that government have “the responsibility for providing the environment in which economic and social development can take place, and the rights of individuals are protected. The private sector, particularly in this new era, to produce goods and services which are internationally competitive,” and for the people “to participate in political, social and economic activities which lead to the development of the society”.

He ended his presentation with what we consider also to be very wise counsel and we end by quoting him again directly. Sir Dwight advised that, “We need to have a knowledgeable and responsible community which in the face of the challenging domestic and external environment mates judicious and objective choices, to achieve our ultimate goal which is the welfare of the people.”

And we cannot agree more.